Brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yesterday’s gospel reading about the great banquet (Luke 14:16 – 24) allegorically references our Divine Liturgy. We humans participate in a synergy between the immortal and mortal to make Christ real in the communion Cup each time we celebrate the divine liturgy – the heavenly banquet. It is the human endeavour in calling down the Holy Spirit that makes this the one mystery fundamental to attain the heavenly kingdom.
The purpose of the Divine Liturgy is salvific and is the highest human expression that we have for praising, glorifying and loving God. It is the only thing that we can offer back to God to show our gratitude to his goodness. We participate in the royal banquet here and now and in anticipation that we will be with Christ in the heavenly kingdom.
In this way Christ becomes our food and our life. In this way we are transformed because we participate in the fullness of the goodness of God. In this way we grow towards union which begins in this life and invites us into the next. Great is the heavenly kingdom: O Lord; may you call me into your kingdom.
Make no mistake. We are all invited. The church journeys in time towards the end times or the eschaton. At the end of time the heavenly kingdom comes in its fullness. However, in the interim, we have a real promise to live our life in Christ. However, not everyone who is called to the divine liturgy attends. Just like the teaching from this pericope: God offers glory to those whom he has first chosen. He sends the son to them. They reject the son with all manner and form of excuse. Once a chosen race has rejected the son they have lost the favour of the Lord who now looks to others to fill the heavenly kingdom – and he has found sinners like you and me who are trying really hard to be at one with Christ.
Around our Church
- You may have notice that our garden is thriving. Our church needs your help to maintain the garden – pruning, tending, fertilising et cetera (the gardeners amongst us will know what the et cetera means). I need one enthusiastic person to be responsible to collect a team to care for the garden on a roster basis. It is simply too large for me to continue to do by myself. Please contact me if you’re interested.
- Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be the last Bible study for the year. The topic for discussion will be: those four women and their significance to salvation history referred to in the genealogy of Matthew. To the catechumens: the lessons will be switched to Saturdays after the church service refreshments. Expect some disruptions and the Saturday lessons will be on an ad hoc basis to be advised by me.
- Our radio program “the hour of orthodoxy” will continue over the Christmas/New Year period – same time, same station. Our Thursday afternoon offerings on six EBA FM will also continue over this period.
- I attach the variable parts for next Sundays liturgy. Please take time to read them. I, as priest, have a responsibility to ensure that the faithful are properly instructed, but you the faithful, also have a responsibility to assist in your spiritual growth.
- In this coming season of joy and plenty do not forget those who are less fortunate than ourselves. If you can assist our food store you may care to consider contributing to the outreach mission of our church by donating to BSB 082057 account 616004624. Thank you.
- The program for this week is as follows: Wednesday (St Elaetherios) matins from 7:30 AM; Friday (St Dionysios) matins from 7:30 AM; Saturday divine liturgy in English 9 AM to 10:15 AM.
- I will soon be sending out the Christmas/New Year’s program of St Nektarios. Please print out and affixed to your refrigerator door for ease of reference.
Thought of the Week
The divine liturgy stands for many things. It is the real presence of Christ as well as his loving memorial and our thanksgiving to him. We remember Christ and his sacrifice for us. We seek communion with Christ by participating in the spiritual banquet. All these aspects meld together to form a continuous Pentecost and they do this in the present life of those who participate in the gifts given by Christ. Through communion, Christ enters within and lives and sanctifies our soul. Thus we share the promise of eternal life as well as receiving forgiveness and grace in this life. Holy Communion unites us one to the other because there is one cup. We who are many are one body because we partake of the one cup.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554